I am going to share a step-by-step guide in how to create your own dolls house with just a few materials and the help of your darlings.
What you need
2 – 3 corrugated cardboard boxes (sized to how big you want it)
4 x Strips of wood per room (length of dolls house)
CCA free paint
Doll’s Houses have always been popular with young children, they provide a place in which lots of different stories can be created. With the use of dolls, dolls house furniture, and the Dolls House itself, little ones simply use their wonderful imaginations and transform these toys into a magical world of miniature home living.
1) Decide which kind of dolls house you would like. Although the finished piece won’t be worthy of a place in the V&A Museum of Childhood, it’s still worth thinking about the style of dolls house you are hoping for. If you are creating the Dolls House as a surprise, think about what your little one would prefer (within reason of course). If not, have some fun family time and discuss the possibilities together. Decide how many rooms should be in the Dolls House and how big the house should be; taking into consideration the size of the dolls and accessories that will be used.
2) Collect a couple of corrugated cardboard boxes, or any corrugated cardboard panels that are as large as the height and width you’d like the Dolls House to be. This is because the corrugated structure provides the support and stability needed. Ensure the dimensions of three panels are the same (these will be used for three walls). Fold over an inch along the length of the panel; do this on two panels – these will act as long right-angle tabs to attach the panels to the back wall. Glue along these tabs and place the tabs behind the third panel (the back wall). This will give clean corners without the tabs being visible.
3) With the fourth piece of corrugated card, place this underneath the three walls, and make note of how much bigger this piece is. Create tabs in the same fashion as earlier (adjacent to the three wall panels), glue these tabs and place them on the outside of the wall panels. This is now the floor and will again provide clean corners.
4) The fifth piece of corrugated card will act as a floor for the first floor of the Dolls House. Ensure that the depth of the panel is an inch longer than the depth of the house, and the width is two inches longer than the width of the house. Fold over an inch along the length of the panel; this will attach the back of the floor to the back wall. Fold an inch length along both sides of this flooring, and use these tabs to attach the floor to the side walls. You now have three walls, a floor, and a first floor for your dolls house!
5) To provide support for the first floor, attach small pieces of wood underneath this panel; the wood will be glued and wedged diagonally between the floor and the side wall panels. Evenly place each of the four pieces of wood underneath each corner of the floor. This not only strengthens the floor; they also act as traditional wooden beams, giving the Dolls House a cute cottage feel.
6) Next, you can create little partitions on each floor to act as separate rooms within the Dolls House. Using the same tab principle with your thinner corrugated card, decide where you would like the partitions to be. Before attaching them inside the house, cut out small doors where you’d like the dolls to ‘walk’ through. Arched tops look quite charming without compromising the stability of the partitions. Using thinner corrugated card means that the space within the house remains as spacious as possible.
7) The most exciting part for the little ones is up next; the decorating! Decide which theme you would like to go with, and use any CCA free paint you like! Be a bit experimental with the design, and let the kiddies decide which patterns they think their dolls would like. Polka dots, stripes and pastel colors work well; choose something that will brighten up the Dolls House, and apply a few layers to prevent scratches and fading.
8) A sweet little feature you can also add is a staircase. Make a concertina pattern with a small piece of corrugated card, and then attach a supporting flat piece of corrugated card underneath to support the steps. Then attach this to the ground/first floor (or as many floors as you like, depending on how many floors you’ve created!) and cut a little hole in the floor above the stairs for the dolls to walk through.
9) You can design a roof and front panel if you wish, although kids quite often prefer to have a completely open front and roof so that opening panels don’t get in the way during play. If you would like these panels, ensure that any hinges needed are created using the tabs technique from earlier. Lightweight cardboard panels are best as they won’t start to squash the structure of the house.
10) Last, but not least, decide which dolls should start residing in the lovely new dolls house! The little ones will have so much fun inventing stories for their dolls, and you can even start to prepare for the next venture; designing dolls house furniture!
The great thing about making your own dolls house is that you can customize it however you wish, and add as many dolls house accessories and furniture as you/the kiddies like. You can even decide when the walls could do with a little renovation and redecorate the whole house into something completely new.